I found this text to be quite interesting because it focuses on the methodology of human culture. I see that it is very fixed on how humans find meaning, but isn’t exactly interested on the meaning itself. The first thought that popped into my head on structuralism was the idea of religion verses science. Where do humans find meaning in each of these categories, and do people find that one may be more significant than the other, since the actual substance of meaning doesn’t really seem to matter to Barthes. If we apply structuralism to each religion and science, we would have to break apart each of these categories in order to examine it more clearly. So for example, if we choose to examine religion, we would have to study it in its many sections that make it up as a whole. It can teach us about language, also myths. A lot of stories about gods can be perceived as mythological. Also, it can teach us about the language used in religious books, such as the Bible…etc. We can get a clearly picture as to why the human culture developed certain beliefs and language over time. This goes back to Saussure’s text on linguistics.

I think that this text along with Saussure’s “Nature of the Linguistic Sign” are very similar in that they both believe in close reading and critical thinking in order to find “meaning” to words and the way they are used. It is in doing so that we can make texts more intelligible over time.

2 thoughts on “Structuralism”

  1. Dana,
    I also agree with you that the article The Structuralist Activity was interesting and think that Barthes tries to explain how meaning works and functions in a text. In order to deconstruct a text one must re create a copy of the original text. This does not mean a copy that is exactly the same but close to it. By using this method of deconstruction one can find the revealed or hidden meaning that was not previously found. If we were to analyze Frankenstein’s elements of religion and science and rewrite the parts in which the elements were written we would be able to change the original copy in order to come up with different words in order to describe the elements of science and religious. By creating a copy of the text we may come across new ideas like science relating to a pro creator or birth. Religion could also be seen as something that has history attached to it and depending on how one changes the word and deconstructs it in a text it can vary throughout different types of religions. Deconstruction cannot be taken as any meaning one would like to interpret it is not a free flowing interpretation that one writes down in order to make that copy. It must be similar to the original in order to find a meaning that is logical and makes sense that can relate to the original text.

  2. I agree that the pursuit of knowledge and language are intertwined. In I agree addition context and perspective can completely change the meaning of a text. I find the idea of deconstruction really interesting and a completely different way of looking at things as well. Usually when we examine a work we look at the surface elements and try to assign meaning through them. It’s really different to see what a text isn’t through it’s antithesis and try to look at the gaps to find meaning or contradictions if that makes sense. Either way I think it’s a really interesting perspective to take that I’m not used to taking

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